Cryogenic fluid management is the foundation for current and future space programmes and developing the terrestrial hydrogen economy. The availability of these propulsive and power-generating fluids at launch, in orbital depots, and on lunar and terrestrial surfaces is essential for future human exploration missions to Mars and the path forward for safe hydrogen loading and deployment.
Cryogenic fluids reside within pressurised fuel tanks and propellant sub-systems. Maintaining safe operational pressures of these fuels is critical, and an over-pressure event could result in the catastrophic loss of a spacecraft or hydrogen development/deployment system. Another concern regarding the management of cryogenic fuel is a process called ’boil-off’, referring to the product losses from cryogenic propellant storage systems during a long-duration space mission and hydrogen tank applications.
When exposed to pressures exceeding their limit, the diaphragm ruptures within commodity burst disc designs. This ’frangible’ element profoundly impacts the capability of these types of burst discs. Whether it is a truck, train, marine ferry, or spacecraft at launch, the shock loads, vibrations, abort procedures, operational boil-off cycling, and the requirement for long-term service make the reliance on a thin singular diaphragm as an over-pressure solution somewhat problematic at best.